Yes, we continue to visit new wineries and recently reached a milestone of #160. Here is a summary of the new wineries that we visited:
#158: Winding Road Cellars: When we went from Philip Carter to the Inn at Vineyard Crossing for the ribbon cutter ceremony, we saw a sign for a new winery called Winding Road Cellars. Once the ribbon cutting ceremony was over, we decided to stop in for a tasting. They are very new. The tasting room is wood paneled room with a big tasting bar in the middle. Owners Scott and Linda Culver have been working very hard to get things going at the winery. We tasted the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Cabernet Franc, the 2008 Chambourcin, and the 2010 Chardonnay. Our winner was the 2010 Chardonnay. It was a classic chardonnay with apple and pear notes. We will have to return soon when more wines are on the menu and we have more time to take thorough notes.
#159: Greenhill Winery and Vineyards: This winery was formerly known as Swedenburg. Things have changed quite a bit since businessman David Greenhill bought the Middleburg winery. Sebastien Marquet, winemaker at Doukenie Vineyards, is the consulting winemaker. The Swedenburg tasting room has been completely renovated and is now much more customer friendly and very inviting. Tasting are held either at the bar or at tables located both indoors and outdoors. There is also a focus on quality winemaking especially with Marquet at the helm. The four wines that we tasted were well crafted and included a 2009 Blanc de Blanc, 2011 Vidal Blanc, 2012 Syrah, and the 2009 Philosophy, a Bordeaux-style blend. Our favorites were the dry 2011 Vidal Blanc with its citrus and tropical fruit notes and the 2009 Philosophy with its earthy elements and dark berry aromas.
#160: Leaves of Grass Vineyards: Owner Michael Mazo named this winery after the Walt Whitman piece, Leave of Grass. The open design of the tasting room offers an airy feel to visitors; in fact, Whitman probably would feel right at home here! Contemporary furnishing adds a touch of hipster elegance to the back-to-nature ambiance. Our tasting came with a platter of cheeses and meats to complement the wines which included a pinot gris, a chardonnay, a cabernet sauvignon and a cabernet franc. The bottles sported designs that seemed like word/icon clouds, and the words and symbols were meant to conjure associations with wine such as love, adventure, and magic. The labels were even featured at a business/marketing expo in Shanghai! Karem Baki serves as consulting winemaker. Grapes are currently outsourced from local vineyards. Our favorite here was the Cabernet Franc 2010 with its earthy elements and palate of blackberries, dark raspberries, and spice.
Will we make it to #200? New wineries are opening all of the time in Virginia, so we will take things one winery at a time. Until then, visit these newbies and tell them that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
We rarely attend wine festivals, but the Virginia Wine Festival at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia is one that we do try to visit. Gorgeous weather and numerous wine, food and art vendors made this year’s festival especially appealing.
Wine festivals in Virginia have a reputation for attracting party crowds who prefer to get a buzz rather than appreciate wine. However, the Virginia Wine Festival seems to generate a different vibe. A number of seminars held at various times of the weekend that include food and wine pairing sessions, wine tasting 101, and a wine judging crash course. One session delved into wine glasses and the differences between the various types of glasses—perfect for wine geeks!
Of course, wine tasting is the ultimate reason to attend the Virginia Wine Festival. Over 40 Virginia wineries, cideries, and meaderies poured their wares at the festival. We did not get to sample all of the wines; after all, we did have to drive home. However, we did try to focus on wineries that we tend not to visit due to distance in addition to some well known favorites. Anyway, some standouts from our tastings included:
Barboursville Vermentino Reserve, Nebbiolo Reserve 2010, and the Octagon 2009
Ingleside 2009 Petit Verdot
Potomac Point Chardonnay 2012, Abbinato 2011 and Norton 2011
Rosemont Pinot Grigio and 2010 Merlot
Trump Sparkling Blanc de Blanc 2008
Food vendors offered a variety of offerings including barbeque, Thai, crab cakes, and Mediterranean. I never turn away from a crab cake, so I enjoyed a crab cake from Sherri and enjoyed it with a glass of the crisp Pinot Grigio from Rosemont Vineyards. Paul sunk his teeth into a burger with another sample of the 2009 Petit Verdot from Ingleside.
Live music filled the air, but we did keep track of the bands that performed during the course of our time at the festival. However, Paul did snap some photos of the live action, and I saw him snap his fingers to the beat of some cool jazz tunes.
We enjoyed our time at the Virginia Wine Festival and intend to visit next year; I did not get attend the session on wine glasses, but will do so in 2014! Make your plans to visit the 39th Annual Virginia Wine Festival in 2014; in the meantime, try to visit some of the wineries that we featured in this post. Mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
On Saturday we went to Gray Ghost to help harvest the chardonnay. As in past years, we do this every year and always have a great time. Here are some photos from our time harvesting.
We gathered early Saturday morning to harvest the chardonnay.
Al used his “Powerpoint” presentation to demonstrate how to harvest.
Amy put on a show to display this years harvest T-shirt.
Before heading to the vineyard Warren got a chance to talk with Al about the harvest.
We then headed to the vineyard and got a closer lesson on harvesting.
Here’s Warren harvesting some grapes.
After all the lugs were full, Al Jr and helpers collected all the lugs and brought them to the crush pad.
Here are some of the grapes we were harvesting.
After all the grapes were brought in, we toasted to this year’s harvest.
The Inn at Vineyard Crossing, a bed and breakfast co-owned by Philip Carter Strother and Stephen Mills made its formal debut in Fauquier County with a ribbon cutting ceremony this past Saturday. Although Fauquier County boasts over 20 wineries, accommodations in the area were lacking; the Inn now fills that void.
Attendees gathered first at Philip Carter Winery and were shuttled over to the Inn for a tour. Of course, Philip Carter house wines were poured for guests who were allowed to freely walk about the Inn. The Inn itself is a renovated historic home that was built in 1787, and it includes five suites the largest of which is the Commonwealth suite. Luxurious best describes this suite; however, all of the suites were well appointed. For Virginia wine lover, the Virginia Viognier suite included a comfy king sized bed and as many pillows as one could ever need to take a snooze. All of the rooms include a private bath.
The kitchen caught my attention. It was roomy with all of the amenities needed for a truly gourmet experience. A chef-grade stove implied that delicious meals await Inn guests. These meals would be enjoyed in the elegant dining room with its master dining table; a contemporary yet style-appropriate chandelier lights the way for diners to enjoy a meal that we are certain will be paired with Philip Carter wines. We did not investigate the English garden and pool, but these were located directly behind the Inn.
After tours and wine, Philip Carter Strother gathered the guests to begin the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Inn’s entrance. On hand was Virginia delegate Webert who has made a commitment to promoting Fauquier County businesses including wineries and inns. The ribbon cutting signified a new dimension to Philip Carter Strothers’ devotion to the Virginia wine industry and what it can offer to customers who are now more likely to frequent local wine destinations especially if deluxe accommodations can be part of the plan.
So did we do a tasting at Philip Carter Winery? Of course we did. Favorites included the well-balanced 2012 Chardonnay that was not yet released; however, Dan Metzger, the operations manager, gave us a sneak preview. Its pear and apple characteristics gave way to a hint of toast and a lengthier finish. We also enjoyed the floral 2012 Sabine Hall Viognier with its peach notes and nice mouth feel. Fall is around the corner and time to consider bolder reds to pair with heartier fare. Consider the 2011 Corotoman, a Bordeaux-style blend. I first observed leather and tobacco notes and then plum and cherry elements; oak nuances were also noted.
If a trip to Fauquier County wineries is on your itinerary, consider a stay at The Inn at Vineyard Crossing. Needless to say, a tasting at Philip Carter Winery should be on the agenda. Be certain to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.